Half of the year has passed, and the smartphone wars continue to rage. While we anxiously speculate on how the three new, affordable Nokia S40 mobile phones are going to affect the global electronics market, Apple might surprise us with a smaller, more affordable iPhone to heat up the battle for market share.
In February 2011 Apple was said to be working on what will be a mini-iPhone, though very few Apple employees knew the details of the project or had seen the prototype. Despite there being no official announcement, it was said that the expected, less expensive iPhone could be ready to face the world by midyear -- if not delayed, as happened to the white iPhone.
The reason for the lower price is due to the fact that the smaller iPhone would use chips and displays of similar quality to the latest iPhone 4, but not any of the new developments, upgrades, and faster chips that Apple is going to use in the next iPhone to be launched in September this year.
Reports say this new mini-iPhone would be targeted at Europe and some developing markets where Nokia's phones and Google’s Android mobile phones have a good share of the market pie. At a reported price of $200 and no obligation to sign a two-year service contract this smaller iPhone would be in a good position to win the race or, at least, to get closer to its competitors in developing and emerging markets.
"Instead of targeting 25 percent of the global mobile phone market, Apple would be going after 100 percent," says Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York, who has a Buy rating on Apple shares. That sounds to me like a real plan for world domination. My bet is that if Apple makes the less expensive iPhone dream come true, it will have a very good shot at conquering the mobile phone world. It will at least advance its goal of 100 million iPhone users by the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, according to Canalys's January 2011 report, Google's Android was the leading platform by the fourth quarter of 2010 in the global smartphone market with a 32.9 percent share. Nokia ranked second with 30.6 percent, while Apple had 16 percent.
If Apple moves ahead with the mini-iPhone we will witness a tough and very interesting battle for leadership in the smartphone market, but it will be quite a long time before any of the leading mobile phone warriors can declare absolute supremacy -- if that ever happens.